Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Caesar Dressing with Anchovies OR Capers

Among friends in Kuala Lumpur, my most requested dish to bring to a potluck is my Caesar salad.  I always made it just by pouring a little of this and a lot of that in a large measuring cup while not actually measuring.  But when folks started requesting the recipe, I had to take measure.  My original recipe calls for a small can of anchovies.  I would like to give credit for the caper substitution for vegetarians to my elder daughter’s roommate, Molly.  Molly is a creative cook as well as a talented artist.  Last year she spent a semester in Italy and I thoroughly enjoyed following her exploits and getting to know her through her sketchbook blog.  And I drooled over her Facebook photos of the rustic tarts she made for a potluck.  

2 tablespoons fresh or reconstituted lime or lemon juice (You can also use vinegar, in a pinch.  Desperate times have called for desperate measures.)
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup or 60 ml cold water (Cold helps the dressing emulsify.)
1 small (1.6 oz or 45g) can anchovies in olive oil OR two generous tablespoons drained tiny capers
1/4 teaspoon powdered English mustard (Colemans)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled
1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste  (You can add the salt after blending if you’d like.  Some anchovies and capers are saltier than others.  We don’t mind salty so I just go for it with a 1/4 teaspoon.  And add more after if necessary.)

This is so easy.  Puree all the ingredients in a blender or with a hand blender until emulsified. 

Give it a quick taste and add more salt, if necessary.

If you are using capers, the resulting dressing may be a tiny bit more green.

This dressing is best served tossed with crisp romaine leaves which you then sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese.  It will keep for a couple of weeks stored in the refrigerator in a closed jar.



  1. I love the vegetarian option - what a great idea to sub in capers

  2. Oh Yeah! I LOVE anchovies! Homemade Caesar salad dressing is the best!

  3. I adore anchovies and like to use them in a variety of things, like tomato sauce, instead of salt, since they add such flavor along with saltiness. And I've never found a store-bought dressing to rival homemade.


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